For many years I tried ear plugs on and off, but never really found the one-size-fits-all option comfortable. I knew about bespoke ear plugs but they always seemed pricey, and how comfortable would they be? Would I lose them? Would they block out enough/too much noise?
As is often the way, having tried a pair, I wonder why I did not do so years ago… The ‘squidgy’ from ULTIMATE has been in service for a good many miles now.
I had my custom ear impression taken at a bike show, so this was hassle free. If however you want to buy online you will need to arrange having impressions taken, which is a bit more involved. In either case you are supplied with the impression so can use it for future orders should you lose or damage the finished earplug. It really is essential you follow the instruction during this process, in order to get a good fit.
It takes around 28 days after impressions for plugs to arrive, though there is a faster service available at extra charge. They’re worth the wait though as mine are a good fit and so much easier to get in than universal foam plugs, and pretty comfy too.
They are easy to clean; simply wash with soapy water. I thought they would get horribly sticky and that due to the gel-like feel of the medical grade silicone, fluff etc would stick to them, but it’s simply not the case.
There are a choice colours, or even multicoloured. I went for blue as I figured they would show up on most surfaces if I dropped them! Left and right are indicated on the plugs. Mine came with the Overland logo added on and you can choose to have your name etc on them for an extra charge, but it is a bit of a novelty and the print on mine has started to go off after a year of regular use.
Ultimate Ear state they are small and lightweight, and I have to agree. I find the 30dB noise reduction properties ideal, removing the tinnitus-inducing wind and road noise, but leaving me able to hear what’s going on around me and when anyone’s talking to me. With other ear plugs this has been an issue, creating a very disconcerting isolated feeling. As friends will attest, it’s usually impossible to talk to me when we stop riding, as I have some underlying hearing loss – no doubt down to all those years’ riding without any ear protection!
I’ve used these ULTIMATE squidgy plugs for very long riding days, and after a good few hours I do get a little bit of a sore outer ear from a slight rub against my lid. However I would never tolerate disposable ear plugs for anywhere near as long, and their non-selective blockage of noise leaves me feeling vulnerable. It’s this remarkable ‘filtering’ of sound that is the real strength of this product.
They come with a small fabric pouch, though I confess I quickly ditched this in favour of a small plastic clip together box that some disposable ear plugs came in.
In summary the Ultimate Ear ‘squidgy’ is a good solution for me, not so expensive I’m terrified to wear them and lose them, but much more economical long term than disposable, poorly fitting ear plugs.
If I was setting off on an Overland trip, I’d take a few pairs in case I lost them, and make sure someone at home knew were the impressions where if I needed replacements.
Ultimate Ear has a wide range of hearing protection options, including audio compatible versions. The ‘squidgy’ is priced from £65 plus P&P. (Jenny)